Tuesday, August 02, 2011

wizards and watercolors

The students have been calling this "Harry Potter Day" and I suppose that's what it was. We met our guide, Andrew, downtown city London at the Bank, and he took us for the next two hours through the streets of London, giving us factual history and Harry Potter trivia throughout. I thought a lot of it was fascinating, though the Harry Potter stuff I could have taken or left. Oddly, I felt like the students only cared about the Harry Potter stuff, and were thoroughly bored by the London history. So it was possibly a tough crowd for poor Andrew. But he did well. We saw the churchyard where Scrooge heard the Christmas bells ringing. We passed through the tight little backstreet which inspired Diagon Alley:

We saw amazing architecture. London's great gerkin standing directly next to Shakespeare's first London church:

The amazing inside-out structuring of Lloyd's of London:
We passed through Leadenhall Market, where Harry stopped at the Leaky Cauldron pub in the movies:

And then back over the river where finished at Borough Market, which looked dingy but smelled incredible. So much fresh food, and so much to look at. But that describes half of London.

A handful of the students wanted to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 - it came out in the states while we were here in the UK, so many of them hadn't seen it yet. So we walked down to the Chelsea Odeon and they brought their Harry Potter day full circle. I, on the other hand, can wait to see HPatDHp2 when I get back home, so I went with Jaron to the Tate Britain to see the Watercolor exhibit, which to be fair to the English, is called the "Watercoulour" exhibit. We took bikes there, wish was a nice ride through Chelsea.

Jaron is doing research for Eurydice, a show he's lighting and I'm acting in at UVU this Fall. He was furiously scribbling notes here and there as he studied the watercolors, and I took my time looking and finding some of my own favorites:

The Blue Rigi, by JW Turner

Edinburgh Castle, by Thomas Hearne

Bean, by Rachel Pedder-Smith

Fetges, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Entymologist's Dream, by Edmund Dulac

After the museum closed and they sort of booted us, we walked into town past Westminster Abbey, which was lit in some crazy amazing light. The weather is finally summertime here in London, and we felt it today. But evening was perfect.

Jaron and I finished the evening watching Tree of Life at a cinema in Leicester Square; it's a movie I had seen with Lisa back in the states and loved. I loved it just as much the second time, and maybe even understood it better. I have difficulty recommending it to people, because invariably people think it's too long, too aimless, and too artsy. It probably is all those things. But for me, it's spiritual and honest and one of the most - if not the most - beautiful things I've seen on film. Give it a chance. But if you do, you have to think of it as a poem, or a scripture, or a watercolor. Or even a watercolour. It's more than a movie. It's a testimony.